Industrial decarbonization under Japan’s national mitigation scenarios: a multi-model analysis

Yiyi Ju*, Masahiro Sugiyama, Etsushi Kato, Yuhji Matsuo, Ken Oshiro, Diego Silva Herran

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Energy-intensive industries are difficult to decarbonize. They present a major challenge to the emerging countries that are currently in the midst of rapid industrialization and urbanization. This is also applicable to Japan, a developed economy, which retains a large presence in heavy industries compared to other developed economies. In this paper, the results obtained from four energy-economic and integrated assessment models were utilized to explore climate mitigation scenarios of Japan’s industries by 2050. The results reveal that: (i) Japan’s share of emissions from industries may increase by 2050, highlighting the difficulties in achieving industrial decarbonization under the prevailing industrial policies; (ii) the emission reduction in steelmaking will play a key role, which can be achieved by the implementation of carbon capture and expansion of hydrogen technologies after 2040; (iii) even under mitigation scenarios, electrification and the use of biomass use in Japan’s industries will continue to be limited in 2050, suggesting a low possibility of large-scale fuel switching or end-use decarbonization. After stocktaking of the current industry-sector modeling in integrated assessment models, we found that such limited uptake of cleaner fuels in the results may be related to the limited interests of both participating models and industry stakeholders in Japan, specifically the interests on the technologies that are still at the early stage of development but with high reduction potential. It is crucial to upgrade research and development activities to enable future industry-sector mitigation as well as to improve modeling capabilities of energy end-use technologies in integrated assessment models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-427
Number of pages17
JournalSustainability Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Mar
Externally publishedYes


  • Industry
  • Japan
  • Model intercomparison project
  • Nationally determined contribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Health(social science)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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